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Antiquarian Book Fair

[Music] 00:07 I've been involved in antiquarian book 00:10 selling for about 34 years or something 00:12 like that you just never know what 00:14 you're going to bump into and it's a 00:16 great opportunity to see some really 00:17 fascinating and an unusual material that 00:20 you're just not going to see elsewhere 00:21 actually this little item this is just 00:24 about eleven months ahead of the Battle 00:26 of Agincourt 00:27 I've never I mean this is something you 00:29 just don't see anywhere else we don't 00:32 talk about those my name is Vic so Shack 00:41 I'm president of the antiquarian book 00:43 sellers Association of America the ABAA 00:45 they are the hosts of this event it's a 00:48 trade association for about 450 00:51 booksellers throughout the country 00:52 you've got collectors you've got 00:55 institutional representatives you've got 00:58 booksellers in the ABA who are in 01:00 exhibiting you've got international 01:02 booksellers so it draws a wide wide 01:04 audience I think about the quality of 01:06 what it is is it important as something 01:09 important or otherwise interesting is 01:11 the particular copy of high-quality is 01:14 it going to satisfy a serious collector 01:16 someone who's a connoisseur will 01:18 appreciate it yes it would have to be a 01:20 reason for someone to care about it at 01:21 all there's a favorite work of 01:23 literature or an important historical or 01:25 scientific work a beautifully made book 01:27 but it's also the history of the copy 01:29 did the author give it to someone or is 01:32 a copy and appropriate interesting 01:34 condition is there something significant 01:36 about it individual nature that would 01:38 make a buyer want it rather than some 01:40 other copy kind of interesting thing 01:42 that I've been working on for a number 01:43 of years is I now have all the remaining 01:45 books from the Ira Gershwin library 01:48 collectors are trying to build up 01:50 collections in their own areas sometimes 01:52 no the dealers sometimes find dealers 01:54 who are totally new to them which is why 01:56 these fairs are always so exciting this 01:58 show is great there is a very 02:00 interesting 02:02 mix of young and old people and it's 02:05 really exciting to see young people 02:06 coming in and getting excited about 02:08 ephemera my boss does a really good job 02:10 of representing lots of different 02:12 literary movements lots of different 02:13 artistic movements we have a lot of 02:15 artists books artists monographs 02:17 literary first editions personal letters 02:20 personal documents that type of thing I 02:22 see the best of the best and like the 02:23 most interesting them the most 02:26 fascinating things my background was 02:28 first in journalism and then next in 02:31 public relations and it actually became 02:33 a natural progression to selling books 02:36 it's good to come to shows and connect 02:38 with collectors and help put books in 02:41 their hands and move them along into the 02:43 new collections that they're going into 02:45 ephemera is a very broad category and 02:48 the idea is that it's material that has 02:50 been discarded but it used to be useful 02:53 in other words ephemera is often used as 02:57 a research instrument to study former 03:00 times and social and cultural values as 03:02 a physicist I'm very interested in the 03:04 limits of physics to describe human 03:06 affairs I think both are important in 03:08 assessing the meaning which is what 03:11 we're after when we read ephemera is 03:13 something about the meaning of those 03:14 lives I mean everything we do that we 03:17 present is telling a different story 03:19 where books tell stories in one way when 03:22 we were presenting a collection of 03:24 ephemera or something about it we're 03:26 telling a new story I do a lot of work 03:28 with works by children and this one 03:32 certainly tells a story she did about a 03:34 hundred and twenty-five different pages 03:37 she tells stories of everyday life and 03:40 things that we still experience today I 03:43 am here representing the miniature book 03:45 Society so I make miniature pop-up books 03:48 special collections aren't only antique 03:51 books they're also contemporary book 03:54 artists books just learning the 03:56 engineering that I put into it took me 03:59 almost 20 years so we have a whole case 04:01 of information books manuscripts Diaries 04:05 photo albums about the national parks 04:08 some of which are very rare and hard to 04:11 find 04:11 others are very common and yet they each 04:14 tell the nation's story through the 04:16 National Park units they always wanted 04:18 to be a National Park Service ranger 04:20 personally for me it was a lifelong 04:22 dream so to put on the flat Ranger hat 04:25 and the gray and green uniform was a 04:26 dream come true two of the best jobs 04:29 ever working as a ranger for the 04:31 National Park Service and selling books 04:34 back when you're in your early 30s it 04:36 seemed like it wasn't a problem at all 04:38 to leave a federal job with good 04:41 benefits and pay and dive into the world 04:44 of books that is not really the highest 04:47 paying of professions but if you love 04:51 what you're doing the rest comes 04:53 naturally I've always been a reader 04:55 in the 80s I've found Charles Dickens I 04:58 was in my 30s 04:59 his works resonated with me I started 05:03 collecting first editions next thing you 05:05 knew I had a large collection next thing 05:08 you knew I was buying and selling to 05:10 support my book buying habit and at the 05:13 time I was in the Coast Guard I'm an 05:15 introvert and I would often escape from 05:18 work into a novel or what-have-you one 05:21 of our efforts right now is to bring the 05:23 young the new generation in in this 05:25 wonderful world of books in printed 05:27 matter this is the manuscript of Jean 05:29 Paul starts what is literature I was 05:32 doing research on John Steinbeck for my 05:34 senior thesis so I had to go find the 05:36 primary source documents like this and 05:38 then to see his handwriting is messy he 05:41 spells things wrong 05:42 he didn't just you know come up with the 05:44 words like he put a pen to the paper and 05:46 he wrote it and like there's something 05:48 so magical about that and that's when I 05:50 was like I want to do this for the rest 05:52 of my life like somehow someway I can't 05:54 and I can't not be around this this is 05:57 on being ill by Virginia Woolf and she 05:59 held it just like I'm holding it right 06:01 now and there's just something really 06:02 amazing about that that sense of tactile 06:06 connection to her that you can't get 06:09 that obviously she's you know she's 06:12 someone in the past and things like this 06:15 are why I'm interested in this field I 06:17 want to make sure that this object 06:20 and future iterations of objects like 06:22 this I want to make sure that they can 06:23 be accessible to people the intrinsic 06:25 value is through preserving history 06:27 history doesn't have to be something 06:28 that happened a thousand years ago five 06:31 hundred years ago history is something 06:32 that happened last year I mean obviously 06:35 we can't save all history but we can try

More than 200 booksellers from over 20 countries gathered in Oakland, CA for the 52nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair, one of the largest and most prestigious book fairs in the world. Featuring rare books, manuscripts, modern first editions, children’s books, maps and autographs, this three-day event had something for everyone.

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